TRAINER ASMUSSEN’S GUN RUNNER JUVENILE BREAKS HIS MAIDEN IN $75,000 KIP DEVILLE STAKES
Concept was the only maiden in the field of the $75,000 Kip Deville Stakes for 2-year-olds Sunday at Remington Park, but it didn’t keep the young Gun Runner colt from bounding home in front for the country’s leading trainer Steve Asmussen.
“I can’t say how proud I am of the Gun Runners and how they’ve performed,” said Asmussen, who became the all-time winningest trainer in horse racing history this year, passing Dale Baird. “I wanted him in this race because he needs to be ready for the other two legs of this series. I couldn’t wait for a maiden race.”
The other two legs are the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes on Friday, Oct. 29 and the $400,000 Springboard Mile on Dec. 17.
Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., was in the saddle for Asmussen. Santana celebrates a two-year anniversary of winning seven times on Oklahoma Derby Day in 2019, all seven for Asmussen. He gunned Concept, a son of Gun Runner, out of the Cindago mare Majestic Jewel, from the gate first and never was headed to the wire. Tejano Twist, the even-money favorite, came within a head of getting past the front-runner but Concept found another gear and drove to a 1-1/2 lengths victory at 9-5 odds.
Concept was making only the third start of his career. He had run third in a maiden special weights race at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Texas, in the mud and then was put into the $100,000 Preview Gold Juvenile Stakes at Prairie Meadows in Iowa. He could do no better than fifth in that start. Sunday’s start was the first under Santana.
Concept is a Kentucky homebred by owners Tony Holmes and Winchell Thoroughbreds (Ron Winchell) of Las Vegas, Nev. He is one of many 2-year-old winners that have made their sire, Gun Runner, soar to the top of the national sire list for juveniles. The Thoroughbred Daily News’ sires list has Gun Runner in front with earners of $1,420,227. Gun Runner was a six-time Grade 1 winner on the track and was named Horse of the Year in 2017.
Asmussen said he looks forward to stretching Concept colt out in subsequent races. “These Gun Runners just get better the farther you go,” said Asmussen.
Gun Runner was a classic distance runner with wins in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1-1/4 miles at Del Mar, the G1 Clark Handicap at 1-1/8 miles at Churchill Downs, the G1 Whitney Stakes at 1-1/8 miles at Saratoga, the G1 Woodward Stakes at 1-1/8 miles at Saratoga, and the G1 Stephen Foster Handicap at 1-1/8 miles at Churchill Downs.
Gun Runner earned $15,988,500 in his racing career before becoming a top stallion.
On a bright, sunny day that began at first post with 91-degree temperatures, Concept shone bright as a star. He earned $45,000 for his owners and improved his record to three starts, one win and one third for a total bankroll of $52,362.
He covered the six furlongs in 1:10.12 over a fast track and made every pole a winning one. He set interior fractions of :21.96 for the first quarter-mile, :45.28 for the half-mile, and :57.41 for five-eighths of a mile.
“When the 2 (Tejano Twist) came up to me, he kept fighting; he fought to the end,” said Santana.
Concept paid $5.80 to win, $2.60 to place and $2.10 to show as the second wagering favorite. He finished 1-1/2 lengths ahead of Tejano Twist, the beaten even-money betting favorite. Pinky Ring Bling was third, beaten 17-1/2 lengths. The other finishers included Lansdowne and Malibu Thunder.
It was the fourth win in this Kip Deville Stakes for Asmussen, also taking the event in 2018 with B.B. Dude, 2014 with Bayerd, and 2013 with Aarons Orient. Santana has now won for him three times. Rosie Napravnik won on Bayerd. It was the first win in this stakes for the owners.
Racing continues next week with a Wednesday-Saturday schedule, Sept. 29-Oct. 2. First post time is 7:07 p.m. nightly.
Tracked by more than 167,000 fans on Facebook and 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $272 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District, Remington Park is home for the $1,000,000 Oklahoma Classics Night, an evening of stakes racing to celebrate Oklahoma-breds, on Friday, Oct. 15. Simulcast horse racing featured daily, the casino is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.